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High U.S. Health Care Spending

  • The U.S. Spends More on Health Care Than Any Other Country. Here’s What We’re Buying: Washington Post by Carolyn Y. Johnson—American health-care spending, measured in trillions of dollars, boggles the mind. Last year, we spent $3.2 trillion on health care—a number so large that it can be difficult to grasp its scale. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals what patients and their insurers are spending that money on, breaking it down by 155 diseases, patient age and category--such as pharmaceuticals or hospitalizations. Among its findings: Chronic—and often preventable—diseases are a huge driver of personal health spending. The three most expensive diseases in 2013: diabetes ($101 billion), the most common form of heart disease ($88 billion) and back and neck pain ($88 billion). Yearly spending increases aren't uniform: Over a nearly two-decade period, diabetes and low back and neck pain grew at more than 6 percent per year—much faster than overall spending. Meanwhile, heart disease spending grew at 0.2 percent.

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